With both Armistead and Pooley riding for GB Women, and Froome and Wiggins riding for the men, I looked at the weather on Monday, saw that Wed was going to be ok and managed to get the day off. Olympic fever certainly hit me. Trying to make the most of living in London and having the Olympics. Once in a lifetime and all that.
I’d checked the route, worked out where I could see them go past twice, and thought that it’d be a idea to go and have a ride round Box Hill afterwards to see what all the fuss was about over the weekend.
I was up early, onto my bike at 10am and rode down to Esher and through onto Lammas Lane. Checking the route, I positioned myself on a corner/rounabout following a downhill stretch leading into an uphill where it was a short 2min ride to the other side of the course.
There was a group of Welsh lads, when I say lads, ageing from mid 30′s to their late 60′s who were part of a cycling club and had come for the day to watch the race. It was a lot quieter than I expected, just out of a town centre inside the M25. I thought from the Road Race on Sat/Sun and with school holidays and bright sunshine forcast, it’d be rammed. It wasn’t, and on the other side on Portsmouth Road, it was even quieter, although more stewards as no fencing to keep us back.
The welsh lads were good very friendly, and knowledgeable. One of them had supposedly won bronze in the time trial at the Commenwealth Games back in Wales all those years ago, I have to check that out. Having jokes on someone 30years your senior and an OAP who beats you up every hill still made me feel better about Henry Turgoose smashing me and Alex up the hills this summer down to Woolacombe.
Armistead was first to pass, followed by Pooley. I shot up to Portsmouth road to continue cheering, without an iPhone or anything, was tough to work out who was doing well. Back down to Lammas Lane and I heard that Pooley had got silver, but that was only on finishing. Others came in quicker, so she was out of a medal, but both Pooley and Armistead got top 10.
Onto the mens race, and it seemed the crowd was, surprisingly, less than earlier for the women, even though the spitting rain had stopped and the sun was well and truly out. Froome went flying past, and at our point, just before the 18k marker, seemed to be well up on whoever was in front of him, then the big dog, Tony Martin went past and we knew Wiggins was behind him, from my BB stopwatch, he was up at least 5 seconds on Martin, which was good news. Heading up to Portsmouth Road, and word was that Froome was flying, up 24secs and then Wiggins had gone past 11secs ahead of him. Not sure what to believe after the Pooley getting Silver nonsense earlier, took with pinch of salt, especially knowing cancellara was behind Wiggins, and a strong contender. Froome Zoomed past, then later on Wiggins, who’d made up even more time on Martin, and cancellara seemed excessively far behind.
Jumping on the bike and heading into Esher I was surprised at the support on the route, I must have been at a very quiet point. But all the better, spreading out the support rather than in popular places. Got a great view too! Into Esher and the pubs had people clambering up the walls and people on shoulders with a rammed pub trying to catch a glimpse of the screen to see who could know Froome of his Golden Throne. It was taken first by the German, Tony Martin, then by fellow GB team mate, Sky team mate, and Tour De France Winner Bradley Wiggins. Massive Massive cheers as Wiggins came in first with Froome 3rd as we waited for cancellara to finish, who was well off the pace leaving us with a 1-3 finish which was incredible. People in the street outside the pub, cheering and hugging each other. For cycling! Incredible!
So, with that, a Double Decker eaten, water drank, I headed down to Leatherhead and to Box Hill. Quick stop for a gel before attempting the hill, and I failed at the first hurdle. The road was closed for ‘Olympic work’ so either they’re putting back in the speed humps, or taking down the screens and paraphernalia from the weekends road race. A shame, anyway, not discouraged, I went round the side on rolling roads, some hills I wouldn’t find in East London and then a nice route back on an excellent road, smashing it into Epsom. The through to Richmond Park where realising I was hungry, and in need of liquid thought would stop at the Cafe. It was 6pm, it was shut. I could feel my hunger eating me up, after 57 miles, I needed more than the mornings porridge and lunchtimes ham and cucmber sandwich with hula hoops and a double decker. It was all I could do to smash down another Torq Gel, finish my water and head home running on empty.
71 miles done, the furthest I’ve ridden since Woolacombe trip, a Time Trial watched where we managed to get a 1-3 in the mens and make Bradley Wiggins our most successful Olympian ever.
Bring on tomorrow and the Velodrome, albeit on TV….